Antenna Guru

RF is not 'black magic' – It's Synthesis, Optimization, Analysis and Realization.

Category Archives: Metaphor

The Future…

…less traveled…

“The future” … an indefinite, murky idea. It is by turns immediate, temporary, indeterminate,  … possibly eternal. It seems to have a somewhat symmetrical relationship to the past, divided by the dynamic boundary of now.

We may extrapolate out a short way to a reckoned point, but only if we disregard the inevitability of surprise.

Sometimes in the dead of winter it seems spring will never come, but of course it will; it always does. When it comes, it comes as a mixture of expected and amazing, of dirty snow and shimmering sunshine, of muddy roads and glorious flowers.

Whatever future be, it will be the season to come. Why not extrapolate to an amazing, shimmering, glorious future?

Seasons’ Greetings!

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(k)Now-how

Picture0006It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

–Sun Tzu

How does one know, exactly? There is knowledge that __, e.g. 1+1=2. There is knowledge of __, e.g. “I know I left my glasses somewhere.” Knowing that and knowing of are somewhat easily written out and studied.

Then there is knowledge how __. General Sun was referring to the peril of not knowing the how of his enemies/himself. He referred to what know-how is not in attempting to describe what it is.

Know-how can be difficult to pin down. It is implied or inferred in the result of doing.

Perhaps the best way to judge another’s know-how is to ask the question, “Can you show me?”

“Showing how” is “doing now.”

Past

The past is constantly in transition.

The past is the foundation of  the present and bridge to the future.

The past is in transition — the past is transition.

So long as we live, it will continue to grow.

Then’ is foundational to ‘now.’ 

It forms the superstructure as we pass now to the future.

At critical junctions in life or a project it may be profitable to examine the past before moving on.

Some say, “You cannot change the past,” but we believe you can — by putting your best ‘nows’  into it!

IIABDFI

dishwasher disassembly for repair/replacement ...

dishwasher disassembly for repair/replacement of chopper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

About eight years ago I bought a KitchenAid dishwasher. I had had good experience with them over the past quarter century or so, and I didn’t even think about a different brand. Today, I am very impressed with this latest model, but it did not start out that way, the way I had expected.

From the time I first brought it home, it never cleaned the dishes like I thought it was supposed to. It would leave soap in the dispenser if I didn’t arrange the dishes just right. Coffee grounds would stay in the bottoms of the tall cups I like to use if I left the dirty cup on the counter all day before rinsing it out like I like to do. So even though they were just little nagging issues, I was not happy with the appliance.

Right after I bought the thing I had called a repair guy and asked him to check it out. He came out, ran it through a cycle, made some perfunctory tests, and said, “Well, your water’s not hot enough, and you’re not using the recommended detergent. That’ll be eighty-nine bucks.”

I figured they’d sold out, cheapened the product; I figured the new ones weren’t as good anymore. But it still worked. So, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

About a month ago we had a thunder storm come through that knocked out the power in such a way that the lights went off and on several times and dimmed and so on. The dishwasher had been running at the time, and the storm fried it — The blue LED’s would sort of dimly light on the control panel, but the buttons didn’t work. So, I ordered a control board. That didn’t fix it, so I sent it back and ordered a control panel. The new control panel let me turn the dishwasher on and cycle it, but it didn’t clean the dishes at all.

“Time for a new dishwasher,” I thought. “At least I can send back the panel, too.”

But being a little short of cash right now, my wife talked me into trying some more to fix the (eight year old) one we had. So I puzzled and I thought. I probed and I Googled. I went through that entire dishwasher, cleaning all the strainers and inspecting all the wash arms. Reluctantly, I ordered a circulation pump assembly. I wasn’t hopeful that this would fix it, because when the dishwasher cycled water sprayed… sort of. But I had looked at everything else.

The circulation pump arrived and I replaced it with the help of an online video and Debi’s thoughtful suggestions. (Her suggestions really helped: She studied the video, too, and saw important details that I had missed. Plus, she had encouraged me to press on instead of giving up in the first place.) When we started it up Debi said, “It seems louder to me,” and that was because…

The dishwasher now cleans better than it ever has in the last eight years!

There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, certainly.

Spurious Emissions

The physics is no longer bewildering to me, as it was thirty years ago when I was thrust into the microwave business, but the rules and regulations can still be−

PTCRB

Let’s start with this five-letter acronym for “PCS-type Certification Review Board.” Nested within this acronym is another acronym for “Personal Communications Service.” Surfing over to their home page, “Welcome to PTCRB,” one is confronted by more acronymia. (By the way, ‘ptcrb’ is not found in acronymia.com’s dictionary at this writing.) I tried unsuccessfully to find out the rules for “obtaining PTCRB Certification on a mobile device” because I couldn’t provide the required company website on the Registration Page.

RSE

This TLA stands for “Radiated Spurious Emissions.” RSE are(is?) at the crux of the PTCRB certification. Finding their source(s) and mitigating them is exactly like the other stuff I love to do. Except finding out the rules, which is exactly like the stuff I hate.

CTIA

Originally dubbed the “Cellular Telephone Industries Association,” but now calling themselves, “CTIA – The Wireless Association,” lets you browse their website. I found a Test Plan for Wireless Device Over-the-Air Performance there, but no mention of allowed RSE levels.

Time to change tactics… I decided to look at websites of companies who operate the equipment.

The Horn reflector antenna at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey (Wikipedia)

AT&T

Sometimes I forget all the great engineering that came out of the old Bell Telephone Laboratories. So it was great to find this App Note: Antenna Fundamentals. (Maybe I liked it so much because it was like an advertisement for what I am good at doing!) I especially liked this quote:

A failure to meet FCC regulations or PTCRB radiated-spurious-emissions-conformance requirements due to a level of harmonic energy generated by the device is often blamed on the antenna. In truth, the antenna can often influence the level of the harmonics but does not generate these signals. An antenna almost never has gain at the harmonics of the intended band of operation. Provided the radio has acceptable harmonic performance, excessive harmonic generation is typically an interaction between the impedance of the antenna and the impedance of the final stage of the transmitter.

−ATT Antenna Fundamentals – Technical Brief, p.  34

Heck, yeah!

This is a great Tech Brief, especially because it doesn’t push one type or brand of antenna over another, and it isn’t written to scare anybody into becoming a customer …but I still didn’t have my RSE answer.

ECN

(I don’t remember what the letters stand for, but it’s been a trade magazine for a long time. I emailed the editor, so maybe he’ll get back to me on this.) Bleary-eyed, I clicked on a link to their article, Cellular Carrier Certification Requirements and scanned down the page… Bingo!

Note that PTCRB limits follow ETSI limits, not FCC limits.

ETSI

(European Telecommunications Standards Institute) After all that, I really appreciated their website: The first link on their homepage was Standards. It still took a while to get to the right document, but at last I believed I had found it:

ETSI standard ETSI EN 301 502 V10.1.1 (2012-01)

Table 4.2.5-1: Spurious Emissions Measurements outside the transmit band

Band

Frequency offset outside

relevant transmit band

Maximum power limit

Multicarrier BTS

9 kHz to 1 GHz

≥ 2 MHz

≥ 5 MHz

≥ 10 MHz

-25 dBm

-20-4,2*(Δf-5) dBm

-36 dBm

1 GHz to 12,75 GHz

≥ 2 MHz

≥ 5 MHz

≥ 10 MHz

-25 dBm

-20-3*(Δf-5) dBm

-30 dBm

Machine Wireless Interface

logo01

Machine

Wireless

Interface

LLC

I have been hard, hard at work these last weeks… working on the link between a really cool gizmo and the rest of the world.

After drilling down deep into the physics of microwave devices for a quarter century, it appears that I will be spreading out what I have learned.

Tonight my beloved Nurse Debi gave a name to this thing new born – Machine Wireless Interface©

Thank you, beloved…

Red/blue, Black/red

[Some …uh… human being hacked into my pitiful little blog and posted a gratuitous advertisement this morning. Feeling violated I deleted it and changed my password. “Feeling violated” got me thinking about what we do with our tax money.]

Net revenue flow to (from) federal government

I read about how some people (but only 100,00 in Texas, wow!) in some of the ‘red’ states signed petitions for secession from the union. Then I got to wondering, “Where does all the federal money go? Do some states make money off the federal government, and if so, which ones?”

On average, the “Blue States” are supporting the “Red States.”

I found an answer for the interval, 1990 – 2009 here.

So, if you live in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, Texas, California, and so on, I can see why you might want to secede. But if you live in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arizona, Louisiana  and so on, I would be very quiet if I were you — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan might come down there and garnishee your whole state and local budgets.

Just sayin’…

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Picking up, putting away

We spent much of the week at a family member’s old homestead cleaning out a couple of buildings. It was like an archaeological dig; layer on layer let you roughly date what happened when. The experience saddened me— The accumulated unfinished projects in the shop and the ravaged keepsakes someone had tried to save. I kept telling myself, “But life goes on, don’t you know? Not all projects are unfinished and not all keepsakes are ravaged…”

Debi kept me distracted on the way home by playing sing-along-oldies on the stereo. Meanwhile, I was deciding that I had to clean up, pick up and put away around my house if I didn’t  want somebody else to go through what we had been through for three days.

Yesterday I started reorganizing the shop, trying to keep it that way … this time … I had to come in to prepare dinner for my beloved, remembering that mistake, and decided to listen to the Gipsy Kings while I made fajitas de pollo. I don’t understand much of their lyrics, but their music seems right when I feel sadness, but with hope…

We have to change our lives … because we are family … I have a good woman from heaven, bless me! I have a good woman, so I bless the sky…

GIPSY KINGS – AVEN, AVEN LYRICS

Just Wail

You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.

Charlie Parker

I was called in to help on a design project to marry a cell phone with a portable medical device. As it usually happens, almost everything about the project is pretty well set in stone and the mortar is drying fast. Trouble is, the equipment failed the approval testing that it needs to be legal. (Sort of like when you car won’t pass inspection, except the inspection costs $20,000 …)

There is no time to design a new antenna for the device. I fired off an email to a buddy of mine who works at the company who made the antenna, and his antenna expert said, “Make the housing bigger.” (Sort of like when the Wizard of Oz told Dorothy, “Go see the Wicked Witch and ask her for her broomstick.”) This is one of those cases where the left brain just ain’t gonna cut it… So I took a stroll through the imaginary door into the world of ideas. What I came back with sort of resembles the ignominious “coat hanger antenna,” but actually has some theory behind it – it’s called a “coiled coax balun.” It’s almost free, and it worked for this project.

Stay ‘tuned’.

Brain Damage

I was doing my best to read Atlas Shrugged, because the book is in the news and mentioned by friends of mine. I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t seem to connect with the story – I just felt I didn’t know any people who thought and acted like these characters and I could not suspend my disbelief.

Instead, I indulged in one of my favorite pastimes, reading about near-death experience (NDE).

There was another book being talked about, a new one, entitled, Proof of HeavenI pre-ordered the Kindle version and read it through in about a day-and-a-half. [Disclaimer: I have tried to link to op-ed pieces that distinctly disagree with my PoV hoping to enrich the dialog for you.] As I was reading Dr. Alexander’s description of his experience, it struck me how similar his word choices were to my attempts to describe the World of Ideas… 

I am aware of other PoV’s. That there is a religion gene. That spirituality is a mind virus. Scientists, by definition, do not have these kinds of thoughts; therefore people such as Drs. Alexander and Taylor have disqualified themselves as scientists. Clearly, there are people who think religious faith and spirituality are forms of brain damage.

Some of us think the opposite: To not perceive the spiritual portion of reality is akin to being color blind or tone deaf. Thankfully, it doesn’t last forever.

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